US Open: Serena crosses Navratilova's grand slam milestone to reach last 16
Serena Williams won her 307th grand slam title after beating Sweden's Johanna Larsson. Photograph: (Reuters)
Tennis ace Serena Williams breezed into the US Open last 16 on Saturday after beating Sweden's Johanna Larsson to clinch her 307th grand slam title, breaking Martina Navratilova's record for the most grand slam victories by a woman in the Open era. The win places the 34-year-old at par with Roger Federer for most grand slam victories by a man or woman.
"Wow. That’s pretty awesome and honestly what a better place to do it than here, where it all started. It is actually a really good feeling. To be up there with both men and women is something that's super rare," Williams told jubilant crowds at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
As in the majority of her victories at the majors, she operated with ruthless efficiency but displayed little fire as she coolly dispatched the 47th-ranked Swede 6-2 6-1 in exactly one hour, her calmness under pressure a far cry from last year where the weight of expectation culminated in a shock loss to Roberta Vinci in last year's semi-finals.
This year Williams has been unusually low key, making her way into the fourth round with minimum fuss having yet to drop a set, conserving energy for the second week where the real tournament begins for the world number one.
Larsson fell behind quickly as Williams broke her at the first opportunity and again to close out the first set. The Swede began better in the second set, holding serve to level at 1-1 but Williams was in no mood to mess around as she swept the next five games.
"I feel like I have been doing pretty good," said Williams, adding, "I have been being moving a lot. So far, so good."
Life has probably come full circle for the player who won her first grand slam at Flushing Meadows in 1999. 17 years later, it is where she could achieve two more career landmarks if she can reach the winner's circle again on September 10. A record seventh US Open title would give Williams 23 career grand slams, moving her past Steffi Graf again for the most in the Open Era, and just one shy of Margaret Court who tops the all-time list with 24.
"Each number I'm definitely proud of," said Williams. "I was really excited to 307. I was really excited to do that."
Williams will go for win number 308 on Monday when she meets Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova, a 6-2 7-5 winner over China's Zhang Shuai, in round four.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)